Mazzy started school on Wednesday of last week. She came running into our room at 7am that morning, her clothes picked out the night before already in her hands. I love when Mazzy gets like this. Full of life and unable to contain her excitement.
“It’s the first day of school! I’m changing into my outfit right now!!!” she shouted.
When I offered to help, she said “I can do it myself!”
When Mike told her it was going to be 80 degrees and she might be hot in overalls, she said “I don’t care!”
Then she ate breakfast, brushed her teeth (without us having to ask), did her own hair (pretty sure she got the knots out at least on the top layer) and put on her own shoes (with laces no less).
It was about 7:15am.
“Uhhh… Mazzy. I still need to get up and get dressed!”
I love seeing Mazzy’s enthusiasm for school. She’s excited to see her old friends, make new friends, meet her teachers, learn new things, wear new clothes and open to whatever new opportunities present themselves. In fact the next day, we had quite the struggle figuring out what to wear because it seems like Mazzy doesn’t want to wear anything in the new school year that is not NEW.
I know I joked around previously about how Mazzy would want to wear her overalls every day, but that turned out to actually be true!
“MAZZY. PUT THE OVERALLS DOWN. You can wear them again next week.”
We finally settled on jean shorts and an emoji t-shirt that her friend had given her at the end of last year but she had never worn before.
Coupled with the overalls outfit, it all seems very “big kid” and oddly short on pink. Remember when Mazzy wouldn’t wear anything but pink dresses???
Not only is Mazzy wearing shorts and pants, we went shopping the other day and she picked out a pair of low black boots.
“THESE ARE AWESOME,” she informed me.
Really? I thought. They looked like something I would wear.
That wasn’t all. When I took the girls to get haircuts the day before Mazzy started school, she requested a shoulder-length cut.
“You mean like my length?” I asked her.
“ARE YOU SURE????”
“Yes,” she said confidently. She was sure.
I wasn’t as sure and whispered to the hair stylist to keep it long enough to put in a ponytail.
It turns out, Mazzy knew what she was doing. Her new length is fantastic, much neater looking and easier for her to do on her own. Which she usually styles “down” as she looks at her image in the mirror, turning her head side to side like a teenager.
Don’t even ask me about the fake purple glasses. They’ve become a regular addition to her attire, although she hasn’t tried to wear them to school. Yet.
There are other changes too. For instance, last year Mazzy was a little slow to start reading. In her first grade classroom, there was always a message from the teacher on the board when the kids entered class. It seemed like Mazzy could never get through the first couple of words before another kid would swoop in and read it before her. It got to the point where she didn’t like going up to the board in the morning. On her first day this year, Mazzy walked right up to the message board and read it quickly and proudly, making me feel like she’d made such great strides this summer.
Second grade feels like a big deal. It’s the first year that Mazzy really recognizes that she’s becoming one of the big kids. It’s also a year that I can recall very vividly in my own life. I remember a few isolated incidents in kindergarten and first grade, but in second grade I have tons of memories. I remember getting daily math quizzes in the morning. There were ten questions and they were timed. When you were finished, you brought your quiz to the teacher and she graded it on the spot. You got marks for how many you got right and marks for speed. If you finished in under a minute, you got the grade of “cheetah.” If you finished in two minutes, you got “gazelle.” Next was “ostrich,” then “rabbit” and then “turtle.” You needed to have a perfect score with “cheetah” two mornings in a row to move up to the next level. I remember the teacher’s husband was an astronomer and doing a report on Saturn. I remember the boy I liked who held hands with me at my roller skating birthday party. I remember another kid asking him if I was his girlfriend and he said, “Yes. She’s a girl and she’s my friend.” I remember saying the pledge of allegiance at school assemblies and eating tuna fish sandwiches every day in the cafeteria. I remember a kid punching me in the stomach and pretending that it didn’t hurt. I remember getting on to the school bus and a friend refusing to sit next to me because we were wearing the same shirt. I remember running away from a boy in the schoolyard that all the girls called “the kissing bandit.” I remember performing in “Free to Be You and Me.”
All this is to say that second grade created quite the impression. I honestly can’t tell you nearly as much about third.
Every night since her first day of second grade, Mazzy has come home wanting to play “school.” If you follow me on Snapchat, you’ve definitely seen “Miss Lily” in action. She gives us all names, tells us where to sit, gives us homework, leads us to our next class and definitely doesn’t let us speak out of turn.
In Mazzy’s “school,” I am Sharon, Mike is Mark, Grammy is Allison, and Harlow is Sydney. So far, we’ve learned both Science and Spanish (two of her new studies in second grade). We listen to Miss Lily play guitar in music class and don’t dare to touch the saw in woodshop without asking an adult.
What I’ve also learned is to cherish this play time as long as possible, because pretty soon, my black boots wearing daughter with the shoulder length hair is going to want to do anything but “play” with her parents after school.
When I think back on my memories of third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, etc., (with the exception of my parents divorce) they are mainly of school and friends. My parents were of course there through all of it. But they were the stagnant thing as my world without them continued to grow and evolve and create the kinds of impressions I will always remember.
Thank god for my blog so Mazzy can read about how much this time meant to me even if she doesn’t remember it herself.
I wrote this post last night and the previous sentence was going to be the end, but this morning, Mazzy slept in and needed me to drag her out of bed. Then at drop-off, after saying hi to her friends, reading the board and putting away her bag, she got sad when I told her it was time for me to leave.
I hugged her and kissed her and squeezed her hand, our fingertips still touching as I made my way out of the room. I couldn’t help but smile.
We want them to separate and when they do, we want them to need us and come back.
“Growing Pains” is a mom thing too.